Crew Views: Brenda, Krista, and Mike
- Posted on 10 Nov 2012
- In Voyaging
Blog from Brenda Smith
A warm aloha to all of our followers!
The most exciting news first: we were able to see Hikianalia rise for the first time early this Tuesday morning (November 6), about an hour after Venus rose and shortly before sunrise. I really enjoy my 2-6 watch since it allows me to see every sunrise and sunset.
We are now on day 6 of our journey, and all our crew members are well into their rhythm of life at sea with watches. I am finding that some days I am tired and sleep most of the time that I am not on watch, but other days I am not tired and spend my off hours getting to know all my fellow crew members a little better. It is quite interesting to find out what I can learn from each of them, as everyone comes from a different place. There are constant things to learn about voyaging from Uncle Maka and sail trimming and course plotting from Captain Bob. We are practicing our oli and learning a new one from Nahaku. On Monday, I had a very interesting conversation (if that is what you call it when one person (me) asks a lot of questions and the other one answers!) with Hiapo, whom I had never met before, about Hawaiian education and a bit of politics.
Best of all for me though is to have nice warm clear nights on deck for applying all I have learned about star lines and navigation, and relearning all I have forgotten. There are many of us who learned together in Ka’iulani’s Ho’okele class, and many others who know much more. We are all also thankful for Tina’s laminated star chart. Our crew, as well as the Faafaite crew from the last leg of the voyage, use it every night. We are very lucky to have Onohi on board with us, and I never cease to be amazed at his patience and willingness to answer any question we may ask, no matter how basic. On my watch, Brad is the go-to guy for star or navigation questions or if the steering is tricky.
Keala has been supplying us with fish every day for the last few — poisson cru and poke are welcome every day. I think he may now be a few ahead on the Fish vs. Keala competition! Keli is ceaselessly energetic — so happy to prepare meals even though I know she is getting really tired and needs a nap!
This trip so far has been completely different from my trip on Faafaite from Aotearoa to Tahiti. For one thing, nobody is speaking French. I am also hot in a t-shirt and shorts, versus being cold in two layers of fleece and heavy-duty foul weather gear. Seawater showers are welcome and refreshing, versus take-your-breath-away cold. Hikianalia has has a very nice, enclosed bathroom (head) with a toilet that flushes, which is unfathomably easier to use than one which requires collecting buckets of water from over the side of the canoe while waves are crashing over the bows and sides! Faafaite’s crew had been sailing together for quite a while, and most things were done without much conversation, whereas Hikianalia is new to all our crew, and we spend much more time trying different combinations of sail trimming and centerboard placement. The seas have so far been significantly calmer, and we have yet to have truly favorable winds for any length of time. I can’t wait until we do get good winds and our speed can increase so the crew can hear the amazing humming of the centerboards!
While on the topic of favorable winds: Monday was my birthday, and my birthday wish was for just that — favorable winds, so we are better able to maintain our plotted course. What happened instead was mediocre to crummy winds and squalls. It was interesting to see the differences between each event — some giving us increased winds and causing crazy course changes, some dumping us with rain, and some just leaving us drifting as the wind completely died after the weather passed. I am glad the squalls started out fairly mildly so our new crew could see what they were all about before the weather got too crazy.
So passes another day at sea, while I hum along to the Hawaiian songs being played beautifully or the Tahitian ones I learned on Faafaite. I am feeling very lucky to be along for this learning experience and very grateful to Kalepa and all the Faafaite crew both aboard and on shore for making the last few weeks such an amazing experience for me.
Aloha, Maruuru and Mahalo,
Blog from Medical Officer Krista Tla-chit-in-itl Stogryn
Aloha mai kākou…
Today (November is an exciting day for all of us as we count down the miles to Ka Piko a Wākea, which at last estimate we will cross at about midnight tonight. We have been preparing ourselves with protocol to honour the crossing, with guidance from ʻOnohi and elders at home, and practicing our oli and mele together as crew. Keli is planning a special meal, and the day has blessed us already with two Aku. (I’ve lost track of Keala’s fish score… he’s way up by now!) For most of us, this will be the first time we will cross the equator by water. Whispers of initiation rituals and talent shows has us “pollywogs” waiting with baited breath.
The day otherwise is following the daily rhythm and pace of our voyage, as crew members cycle in and out of their watches, kuleana and sleep. The afternoon is one of my favorite times of day, because many people are up and about on deck. Over the past few days, we have found Hikianalia’s sweet spot in the steady ko’olau winds, which has freed us up a little from the sweep and the sails, and left us with more time to hang out. Brad, Nahaku and ʻOnohi keep us singing with the ukulele through the day’s hottest hours, and we are slowly making our way through the huge black binder of Hawaiian songs. I’ve also been enjoying a live daily blog from Dariennne on a wide range of topics. She is a wealth of information, great to talk to and stoked to share and educate.
My kuleana as medical officer has thankfully not been needed much. Gratitude and prayers for health and safety of our crew has been a feature of our daily pule, and thus far has held true. Crew members were well educated by Drs. Ben and Zunin before me, and arrived for the voyage well prepared for all the usual suspects on the water. The past few days of big swells and stronger winds brought up a bit of seasickness among a few members, but generally everyone seems to be feeling happy and well. As we come together more and more as ʻohana, personal privacy seems to have become less important. Deck conversation has taken to comparing bruises of all shape, size, colour and description (though none can compare with Keala’s who set the bar high on day one). With all the lurching and bumping of life at sea, it is truly a mystery where some of them arise, and it’s been good entertainment trying to match up bruises with possible sources around the wa’a. (This is shared with the reassurance that all bruises are minor and everyone is ok. 🙂 )
Serving as medical officer at sea for a strong and healthy crew has been an interesting change of pace for me. In my busy practice as a doctor at home, being of service to those in need is a big part of my day-to-day life. It has been a healthy, though at times challenging, change for me to find peace and reward in the humble tasks of day-to-day life, for which there are often more hands than needed. Perhaps this is true for all of us.
At the same time, it has been amazing to be immersed in Hawaiian culture, and the knowledge and traditions of voyaging and navigation that are coming alive for me on the wa’a. I am grateful to be so welcomed here and to have a chance to share in this journey with so many inspiring individuals. Above all, I am learning, reflecting and appreciating even more about home.
All my relations,
Blog from Mike Taylor
Aloha mai kākou,
Since you are reading today’s blog, I thought you might be interested in learning how these crew reflections, the daily morning and evening reports, photographs and other information gets to you. All of us crew members must stand watches; steer the canoe; and change, trim and reef sails. You may have gotten glimpses of this and other aspects of crew life, such as settling into watch schedules, meal preparation, etc. from earlier blogs. In addition, there are about 30 responsibilities, or “kuleana”, that must be carried out: quartermaster (logistics), fisher, medical officer, carpenter, safety officer and many others.
One of these kuleana is that of maintaining electrical, electronics and communications. On Hōkūleʻa, this job basically requires you to understand, maintain and operate two banks of batteries, two radios and navigation lights so others can see you at night — pretty simple. On Hikianalia, which will serve as Hōkūleʻa’s safety companion, there are many modern technologies that help ensure the safety of the two canoes. All of these technologies require electrical power. We do not use a single drop of diesel or gasoline. All our power comes from the wind, through the sails, and from the sun, through the ten, large solar panels that charge our two big battery banks. These batteries then provide us both 110-volt electrical current, like you have in your house, and 12-volt current, like you have in your car.
The attached photo shows much of what we use this electricity to accomplish. In the deckhouse (across the top row), we have the ship’s clock and barometer, the Global Positioning System (GPS), the circuit breaker panel, and the battery charge-level meter. Across the bottom row, you can see the laptop computer (which is showing the chart [map] of where we are and the AIS information about any vessels near us), the satellite phone above an iPad, the white VHF radio (to talk to other vessels or port authorities), and last, the old fashioned pen-and-ink log book.
Down below, in the starboard hull, is a computer that controls the whole system. It even runs a small wi-fi “hotspot” on the boat that shows displays on the laptop and iPad that let us monitor the solar panels, batteries and motors.
So, the way we get information to you is by connecting the satellite phone to the laptop and sending you an email — as simple as that on the surface, but a little complicated when you consider what it took to harness the sun and use that power to communicate with you, cook our rice, run our motors and power many other things we do.
Like all other kuleana on PVS canoes, no one accomplishes their assigned job alone. I want to thank everyone on the crew for their kokua in managing our use of power and, especially, to Brad Wong for helping so often in so many ways that he has been designated “Senior Deputy Electrician”.
Aloha, Mike Taylor